Three Keys Revisited - Vanderbilt vs Kentucky

Brian Kimbrow (VM-Stan Jones)

Vanderbilt secured bowl eligibility for the third straight year under James Franklin thanks to a 22-6 victory over Kentucky on Saturday afternoon in Nashville. The game certainly wasn't one that will live long in the memory for its offensive fireworks, but Vandy once again showed steel under Franklin' s leadership and shut down the Wildcats with a dominant defensive performance.

Vanderbilt secured bowl eligibility for the third straight year under James Franklin thanks to a 22-6 victory over Kentucky on Saturday afternoon in Nashville. The game certainly wasn't one that will live long in the memory for its offensive fireworks, but Vandy once again showed steel under Franklin' s leadership and shut down the Wildcats with a dominant defensive performance.

Here is a look back over the three keys to victory.

1) Contain the Wildcats ends - Push

A push is a little bit of a cop out, but the over/under on the number of sacks which would quantify the success of the Vandy line was set at two, and two is exactly what Alvin Dupree and Za'Darius Smith combined for. The biggest wrecking ball on the Kentucky line on Saturday was actually giant defensive tackle Donte Rumph. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound senior put the entire team, and most of the Bluegrass State, on his back as he put together a career day which saw him be in on ten tackles including one for a loss. All in all the Vandy line did a solid enough job against the Kentucky front, though there are clearly still strides which need to be made before the bowl game.

2) Patton Robinette needs to pass more - Pass

Austyn Carta-Samuels made his return this week, knee brace and all, despite not being on the depth chart all week. His passing performance was solid as he went 19 of 24 for 184 yards, before making way for Patton Robinette who came in for mop up duty late and threw the 'Dores only touchdown pass of the game. The important stat for Carta-Samuels was zero turnovers as he made smart, efficient decisions with the football despite looking a little slow at times due to the injury. Jordan Matthews was ridiculous once again, his 12 receptions for 141 yards accounted for 63 percent of Carta-Samuel's completions and 77 percent of his passing yardage. Matthews has created a Calvin Johnson like respect from his quarterbacks at this point where it doesn't even matter if he is doubled covered because the ball will still be thrown his way.

3) November momentum - Pass

Franklin continued his ability to get the 'Dores surging in November with key plays at key times from his defense and special teams. The blocked extra point return after Kentucky took the lead was huge as even though the Wildcat's were up 6-2 Vanderbilt had immediately seized back the momentum. Even with the offense making untimely mistakes, such as a horrible decision to block in the back which nullified a 64-yard touchdown run that would have essentially ended the contest, the energy of Franklin willed his defense to their best performance of the year. Four interceptions and a bullied Kentucky offensive line tell the entire story in this one.

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